responsible use of ai in the military

With AI getting a lot of attention these days, the nations of the world have urged caution and responsibility with using AI in the military. We are not at Terminator levels of scariness (yet) and hopefully with some common sense we never will be.

Major Countries Endorse Responsible Use of AI in the Military

More than 60 countries, including the United States and China, signed a "call to action" endorsing the responsible use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the military. The statement was a tangible outcome of the first international summit on military AI, co-hosted by the Netherlands and South Korea, held in The Hague.

Statement Not Legally Binding and Lacks Enforcement Mechanism

Although the statement was not legally binding, signatories committed to developing and using military AI in accordance with "international legal obligations and in a way that does not undermine international security, stability and accountability." However, human rights experts and academics noted that the statement failed to address significant concerns like AI-guided drones and 'slaughterbots' that could kill without human intervention or the risk of AI escalating military conflicts.

US Proposal for Responsible Military AI Use

The US proposed a framework for responsible military AI use, which emphasized that AI weapons systems should involve "appropriate levels of human judgment," in line with updated guidelines on lethal autonomous weapons issued by the Department of Defense. However, Human Rights Watch challenged the US to define "appropriate," and not to "tinker with political declarations" but to begin negotiating internationally binding law.

China's Representative and Israel's Non-Signature

China's representative told the summit that countries should "oppose seeking absolute military advantage and hegemony through AI" and work through the United Nations. Israel participated in the conference but did not sign the statement.

Russia Not Invited; Ukraine Did Not Attend

Organizers did not invite Russia following its 2022 invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a "special military operation." Ukraine did not attend the conference.

Weakness of the Summit Statement

Jessica Dorsey, assistant professor of international law at Utrecht University, said that the US proposal was a "missed opportunity" for leadership and that the summit statement was too weak. "It paves the path for states to develop AI for military purposes in any way they see fit as long as they can say it is 'responsible'," she said. "Where is the enforcement mechanism?"